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Emily Perron

April 6, 2017

COM 380

Vocalics Observational Study

Observational study 8.5 observed the vocalics of a television show that included back and

forth conversation. Throughout the duration of the show, the study instructed the observer to note

conversational turn cues. In addition, the observer was instructed to analyze violations of

conversational rules, use of stereotypes, and other vocalic issues.

For this observation, I watched the Fox television show Bones. The show is a crime-

solving show in which a team, consisting of a FBI agent, an artist, and a few brainiac scientists,

solve murders and enter complex relationships. All the main characters are middle aged,

intelligent, and talented. The episode used for this study was Season 9, Episode 17: The Repo

Man in the Septic Tank, which was approximately forty-three minutes long.

In the show I watched, most of the main characters use many vocal behaviors when

discussing a case. In conversations between co workers, turn-yielding was the most present turn

taking practice. Characters would become quiet or back channel while waiting for someone else

to finish the conversation. When receiving data during conversation or making observations and

realizations, characters would pause with vocal pauses, including oh, uh, or oh.

During more personal, or otherwise private exchanges more, vocal characteristics and

enthusiasm were present. Dr. Jack Hodgins, a main character known for his work in entomology,

biology, and mineralogy, and Dr. Fuentes, the current intern, tend to get excited about a

discovery or experiment. This is evident when their baseline changes and their speech is faster.
Other characteristics that all the shows characters normally display are sighs, grunts, scoffs,and

occasional laughs.

Throughout this episode, there was no extreme vocal characteristics violating norms.

There were also no vocal qualities following stereotypes of age or gender differences, nor any

health struggles. However, other recognizable interns have distinct voices based off the

stereotype of their cultural background. This includes Arastoo with his Arabic accent, Finn with

his Southern accent, and Rodolfo with his Cuban accent.

Overall, these patterns are consistent throughout the episodes. Bones creates a blended

environment and displays all ethnicities, races, and even multiple languages. These patterns are

not difficult to recognize as the interns are swapped in and out consistently. While the show

sticks to stereotypes, it is nice to see acceptance with such a diverse environment.

For my observational study, I conducted study 8.5 and watched Season 9, Episode 17 of

Bones. During this viewing, I took note of turn cues, violations of conversational rules, the use of

stereotypes, and other vocalic issues. Turn-yielding practices, vocal speed changes, vocal

characteristics and vocal segregates were all used to authenticate the characters interactions

with each other.